Despite their fifth loss in a row, the Tennessee Titans players denied Sunday that they have checked out mentally or - dare the word be uttered - quit on the 2010 season or the coaching staff.
The Titans' early loss to Denver may have been a sign of things to come in a season that has started to spiral out of control.
The Titans were a sieve on defense again, staying on the field for nearly 40 minutes and allowing the Jacksonville Jaguars to chew up 258 yards on the ground.
And the Tennessee offense had less rhythm than William Hung in the 17-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars – a loss that essentially has ended Tennessee's playoff chances for this season. Tennessee converted just two of 11 first downs and ran just 47 plays.
As for whether the team has white flagged the 2010 season or tuned out coaching staff, the players said that is not the case – or at least they hope it's not.
“I don't think so,” linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. “I know I haven't. I'm gonna give you all I've got and you give me all you've got. They guys are going out and giving all they've got.”
Michael Griffin said the Titans have to snap out of the funk, even if the postseason is no longer a realistic possibility.
Are the players still buying in to the coaching staff and the game plans?
“I can't speak for everybody. I would hope so. But right now, we've got to turn things around. We have to,” he said. “People say you may be playing for the playoffs or what not, but we have to take this week by week, and we've got to win ballgames. It's tough to come around here and go to work every day, especially with Indy coming up next.”
The Colts, who have been struggling of late themselves, come to LP Field for a Thursday night game, standing at 6-6 after an overtime loss Sunday to Dallas.
But back to the Titans, Coach Jeff Fisher and the players claim the effort was there, just not the desired results.
“I will look at the tape, but it looked like to me everybody was playing hard, trying to make plays,” Fisher said.
Defensive end Jason Babin agreed with that, saying, “I don't think guys are giving up. Are we in the wrong position, are we in the wrong spot, I don't know. It's just pretty bad what happened today. They basically ran the same play, similar formation, same blocking scheme, and we didn't have an answer for it.”
Defensive end Dave Ball admits that the team's confidence as taken a serious hit during the losing streak.
“Right now, it's probably really low - scraping the floor - but there's a lot of mature players on this team, and we're always gonna keep fighting,” he said. “We're at the bottom right now. We've just got to scratch and claw our way up as far as possible.”